Friday, June 10, 2011

Gorky Park--A Cold War Era Russian Crime Detective Novel

Gorky Park (Arkady Renko, #1)Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is a time-tested popular classic crime fiction, obviously much appreciated according to its high ratings, but this is not a fun read. I admit that Smith is a word smith (no pun intended), but this is not my favorite genre --international intrigue, labyrinthine crime thriller with lots of bloody violence, gore, and more f-words and macho sex than I care for.

Although the mostly corrupt characters are well drawn, except for bumbling Pasho, I didn't care for any of them. Irina is self absorbed, shallow, completely lacking in moral strength, but hey, she's so gorgeous that even ragged shabby clothes look terrific on her. Arkady, the good guy hero, scorns almost everyone & everything. He is arrogant, morose, cynical, and emotionally conflicted. I couldn't decide if he was skilled or just plain lucky with his unrealistic, "gut feeling" approach to exposing corruption and dishonesty. But he was a maverick with integrity and afterall he was successful.

Having been to Moscow & Leningrad in the early 90's, and being somewhat famiiar with Russian history & cultrue, I got right into the dark feeling of the book, but I felt the first 1/3 of it dragged.

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